Papyrus Fouad 266

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Fouad Inv.266, which contains the name of God in the Hebrew language יהוה. Fragment of Deuteronomy 31:28 - 32:7

Papyrus Fouad 266 is a copy of the Pentateuch in the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible known as the Septuagint. It is a papyrus manuscript in scroll form. The manuscript has been assigned palaeographically to the 1st century BC. The manuscript has survived in a fragmentary condition. Discussion about this manuscript questions whether it is or is not a later recension of the standard Septuagint text.


The Greek text was written on papyrus in uncial letters. The text is written in 33 lines per column. The uncial letters are upright and rounded. Iota adscript occurs.[1] It is designated by number 847, 848, and 942, on the list of Septuagint manuscripts according to the modern numbering of Alfred Rahlfs.[2] The surviving texts are fragments from Book of Deuteronomy, 31:28-32:6.[3] It contains section divisions with numbered paragraphs (5, 26, 27).[4]:184 117 papyrus fragments of the codex have survived.[3] This is "clearly a Jewish manuscript".[4]:19

The prefix Fouad commemorates Fouad I of Egypt.

It is the second oldest known manuscript of the Septuagint (Greek version of the Hebrew Bible), and the oldest which used the Hebrew Tetragrammaton in Aramaic "square" or Ashuri script,[3] in following places: De 18:5, 5, 7, 15, 16; 19:8, 14; 20:4, 13, 18; 21:1, 8; 23:5; 24:4, 9; 25:15, 16; De 26:2, 7, 8, 14; 27:2, 3, 7, 10, 15; 28:1, 1, 7, 8, 9, 13, 61, 62, 64, 65; 29:4, 10, 20, 29; 30:9, 20; 31:3, 26, 27, 29; 32:3, 6, 19.[5][6][7][8] In addition, in this collection the Tetragrammaton occurs three times in unidentified fragments, namely, in fragments 116, 117 and 123. This papyrus, found in Egypt, was dated to the first century B.C.E. This is an important piece of evidence for the Loss of the Tetragrammaton in the Septuagint debate.

The text of the manuscript runs close to the Old Greek text but it was characterized through correctors towards the Masoretic Text. In Deuteronomy 22:9 it agrees with the Masoretic Text. It is a witness of an early recension of the Old Greek text of Septuagint towards the Masoretic Text.[9] Albert Pietersma was the first to claim that Fouad contains some pre-hexaplaric corrections towards a Hebrew text (which would have had the Tetragrammaton). Pietersma also states that there is room for the reading ΚΥΡΙΟΣ (The Lord), but the second scribe inserted the Tetragrammaton instead.[10] Koenen has argued in his notes to the new edition of P. Fouad 266 "that the scribe of 848 was unable to write the Hebrew tetragram and hence left space for a second scribe to insert it", probably because "requiring greater sanctity"[11]. Emanuel Tov notes: "he original Greek scribe left open large spaces for Tetragrammaton indicated by a raised dot on each side of the space".

History of the Roll[edit]

Palaeographically the manuscript has been assigned to the 1st or even 2nd century BC. It is the second oldest manuscript of the Septuagint.[3] It was discovered in 1939 in Fayyum, where there were two Jewish synagogues. The first published text from the manuscript was edited by William Gillan Waddell in 1944.[12] 18 further fragments of the manuscript were published in 1950 in the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.[13][14] It was examined by Françoise Dunand[15] and P. E. Kahle. In 1971 were published all 117 fragments of the manuscript.[16] The manuscript currently is housed at the Societé Royale de Papyrologie (Gr. P. 458), Cairo.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Metzger, Bruce M. (1991). Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Palaeography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-19-502924-6.
  2. ^ Rahlfs, Alfred (2004). Septuaginta - Vetus testamentum Graecum. 1/1: Die Überlieferung bis zum VIII. Jahrhundert. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
  3. ^ a b c d e Würthwein Ernst (1988). Der Text des Alten Testaments, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, p. 192.
  4. ^ a b Hurtado, Larry (2006). The Earliest Christian Artifacts. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN 0802828957.
  5. ^ Wadell, W. G. (1944). "The Tetragrammaton in the LXX". 45. Oxford University Press: JTS: 158–161.
  6. ^ Studio Patristica, volume I, part I by Kurt Aland and F. L. Cross, Berlino 1957, pp.339-342;
  7. ^ W. Baars Papiro Fouard Inv. N. 266 published by Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift, volume XIII, Wageningen, 1959, pp. 442-446
  8. ^ Howard, George. The Oldest Greek Text of Deuteronomy. XLII. Cincinnati 1971: Hebrew Union College Annual. pp. 125–131.
  9. ^ Armin Lange, Matthias Weigold, József Zsengellér, Emanuel Tov, From Qumran to Aleppo: a discussion with Emanuel Tov about the textual history of Jewish scriptures in honor of his 65th birthday (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009), p. 60.
  10. ^ Sabine Bieberstein, Kornélia Buday, Ursula Rapp, Building bridges in a multifaceted Europe: religious origins, traditions (Peeters Publishers, 2006), p. 60.
  11. ^ Robert J. Wilkinson (2015). Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. BRILL. ISBN 9004288171.
  12. ^ W. G. Waddell, "The Tetragrammaton in the LXX", JTS 45 (1944): 158-61.
  13. ^ Joseph A. Fitzmyer (1979). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, ed. A Wandering Armenian: Collected Aramaic Essays. Grand Rapids. p. 137. ISBN 0-8028-4845-1.
  14. ^ New World Bible Translation Committee (1969). New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures. Pennsylvania: Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
  15. ^ Françoise Dunand: Papyrus Grecs Bibliques (Papyrus F. Inv. 266). Volumina de la Genèse et du Deutéronome. 1966.
  16. ^ Études de Papyrologie 9, Cairo 1971, pp. 81-150, 227, 228.

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